Former Utah House Speaker Robert H. “Bob” Garff, 78, died Sunday of the coronavirus, his daughter, state Rep. Milissa Garff Ballard announced on her Facebook page.
Garff, a philanthropist and Utah business leader, served as a Republican in the Utah House from 1979 to 1986, the last few as speaker.
His father, Kendall, in 1932 founded Ken Garff Automotive Group, and Bob worked in the business for years, ultimately become chairman of the firm’s board of directors.
The firm, with Bob Garff leading the way, started expanding its dealerships in 2007, ultimately growing to more than 40 car dealerships in Utah (26 individual dealerships), California, Nevada, Texas, Iowa and Indiana.
His Wikipedia page lists a life full of achievements and church callings -- he was a Temple president, mission president, bishop and stake president, LDS Church Sunday School general board member, member of the Quorum of the Seventies, owner of an arena football franchise, Utah Blaze, and head of a family foundation that donated generously to a number of community and civic entities.
Garff served on the board of directors of a number of local businesses and civic groups, including Intermountain Healthcare Foundation and Deseret Book.
He was chairman of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.
Rep. Malissa Garff Ballard, one of five children, is married to Craig Ballard, son of President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President the Quorum of the Twelve, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.